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Sixth & I

Toni Morrison

In Conversation with Michele Norris

Apr 30, 2015 • 7:00 pm ET
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Spare and unsparing, God Help the Child is a searing tale about the way childhood trauma shapes and misshapes the life of the adult. At the center of the novel is a woman who calls herself Bride, whose stunning blue-black skin is only one element of her beauty, her boldness and confidence, her success in life; but which caused her light-skinned mother to deny her even the simplest forms of love until she told a lie that ruined the life of an innocent woman, a lie whose reverberations refuse to diminish.

There’s also Booker, the man Bride loves and loses, whose core of anger was born in the wake of the childhood murder of his beloved brother. Rain is the mysterious white child who finds in Bride the only person she can talk to about the abuse she’s suffered at the hands of her prostitute mother. Sweetness, Bride’s mother, takes a lifetime to understand that “what you do to children matters. And they might never forget.”

Morrison is the author of 11 novels, from The Bluest Eye (1970) to Home (2012). She has received the National Book Critics Circle Award and the Pulitzer Prize. In 1993 she was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature. In conversation with NPR special correspondent Michele NorrisBook signing to follow.